Construction on Larimer County’s new 55,000 square-foot behavioral health facility reached a milestone on Friday when the last piece of structural steel framing was prepared for placement.
Officials from Larimer County joined representatives from SummitStone Health Partners and the construction team to mark the occasion and autograph the beam, although windy conditions at the site prevented the ceremonial “topping out” when the beam is lifted into place.
That didn’t dampen the high spirits of Larimer County Commissioner Jody Shadduck-McNally, who has been working for several years to bring a behavioral health center to the region.
“To be here and actually seeing the building come together is exciting,” she said. “It gives me hope, it recharges my battery. And it strengthens my resolve that we can do anything when we put our minds together as a community. ”
Also in attendance were Commissioners John Kefalas and Kristin Stephens, SummitStone Health Partners CEO Michael Allen, and Dr. Leslie Brooks, who will serve as medical director. Representatives from Haselden Construction, Sutherland Page, and Ditesco Project and Construction Services were also on hand.
The facility is located on a 40-acre campus on the southwest corner of West Trilby and Taft Hill roads just south of Fort Collins. So far, construction work is proceeding right on schedule, despite the wind shutting down the crane on “six or seven” days in recent weeks, according to Kevin Hoff, a project manager for Haselden.
When completed, the 64-bed facility will serve as a crisis care center, serving patients with acute needs.
According to Behavioral Health Director Laurie Stolen, the center will offer six levels of care, including behavioral health triage, withdrawal management, and short-term intensive residential treatment. There will also be a pharmacy, laboratory, food service, and administrative offices.
“Our role is to provide that primary care for them here in this facility, and get them connected to a provider who can provide ongoing care,” she said.
Stolen said the new facility, which is scheduled to open in 2023, will help address “urgent” gaps in the county’s mental health services.
“We have the finances to ensure that we don’t have to follow a financial model, that we can follow a client-centered model, and make sure that patients are getting the right care at the right time, without worrying about cost,” Stolen said. “The county doesn’t have infinite money, but enough to make sure we can be the payer of last resort for those folks that are un- or underinsured.”
It will also serve as a teaching facility, a critical step in developing a strong network of local behavioral health providers.
“It will provide paid internships and opportunities to build up people skills, whether they want new skills, re-skills or up-skills in the career field,” Stolen said. “Our goal is to be able to say that if you want training in behavioral health, Larimer County is where you come to get it.” the workforce. It’s not our intention to rob from other providers in the community. “
In 2018, Larimer County voters passed a 0.25% sales tax increase to address behavioral health needs, with part of the revenue going toward a new facility. Officials held a groundbreaking at the site in December 2020, but construction did not formally begin for another year.
Larimer County is also now in the planning stage for a dedicated youth center on the site that will provide respite services for children and adolescents. At least part of the funding will come from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and Stolen and her team are actively pursuing other grant opportunities.
“The second building will have up to six beds for short-term stabilization,” Stolen said. “And then a lot of it to be day programming, or complementing education in schools, when kids are just not regulated enough to be in school. Here, their teachers come in, and they also have some after school stuff. The intention is to have adaptive abilities across the autism spectrum, that we’d be able to address multiple issues going on in this facility as well. “
If funding is secured, construction on phase two of the project is likely to begin in 2024.